Current Medicinal Chemistry (v.23, #29)

Meet Our Editorial Board Member by Nikos Tagmatarchis (3225-3226).

Mexiletine is an oral class IB antiarrhythmic agent. Although it was primarily studied for the treatment of ventricular arrhythmias, it has been demonstrated to be useful also for the treatment of chronic painful diabetic neuropathy, neuropathic pain, skeletal muscle channelopathies, and recently amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This review presents a detailed report on the different synthetic routes to racemic and homochiral mexiletine developed in the last decades, as well as analytical studies regarding enantioseparation methods and enantiomeric excess determination. Finally, some analogues of mexiletine reported in the literature, most of which along with pharmacological studies, have been mentioned.

Adamantane - A Lead Structure for Drugs in Clinical Practice by Katarina Spilovska, Filip Zemek, Jan Korabecny, Eugenie Nepovimova, Ondrej Soukup, Manfred Windisch, Kamil Kuca (3245-3266).
The adamantane moiety is the structural backbone of numerous compounds and its discovery launched a new field of chemistry studying the approaches to the synthesis as well as the physicochemical and biological properties of organic polyhedral compounds with practical application in the pharmaceutical industry. Adamantane derivatives have proven to be very potent compounds in a wide range of applications from systemic to topical therapy. This review summarizes the currently available adamantane derivatives in clinical practice (amantadine, memantine, rimantadine, tromantadine, adapalene, saxagliptin, vildagliptin), focusing on mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and clinical trials. The adamantane-based compounds presented in this manuscript have been approved for a wide spectrum of indications (antivirals, antidiabetics and against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease). Each of the compounds proved to be of vital importance in their therapeutic indication for numerous patients worldwide. This review also considers the mechanisms of side effects to deliver a complete perspective on current treatment options.

Biphalin: The Foundation of Bivalent Ligands by Scott M. Cowell, Yeon Sun Lee (3267-3284).
Seldom in medicinal chemistry does one ligand present the ability to study two separate phenomena in a pharmacological process. The discovery of biphalin with other homodimeric ligands has given scientists a tool that not only explores how to increase the efficacy of the ligand, but also explore the possible interactions of hetero and homo dimerization of the receptors themselves. As a straight ligand, biphalin has allowed scientists to increase efficacy by direct modification of the residues to affect the message-address interactions with receptors. This led to the exploration of ligand linkers to increase efficacy and it was this modification of the linkers led to discoveries that suggested dimerization of receptor system occurs as a secondary modulation of signal transduction. Even more recently, exploration of the advances in linkers through the discovery of bitopicity seems to modulate the actual receptors to increase the binding and signal transdcution of the ligand. This is accomplished by possible slight conformational changes in the receptors before binding of the ligand located at the end of the linker. These advances were made by the work of the late Prof. Andrzej W. Lipkowski. This review gives the foundation of biphalin and in turn celebrates the contributions of Prof. Lipkowski made in this area.

Naturally Occurring Wound Healing Agents: An Evidence-Based Review by E. G. Karapanagioti, A. N. Assimopoulou (3285-3321).
Nature constitutes a pool of medicines for thousands of years. Nowadays, trust in nature is increasingly growing, as many effective medicines are naturally derived. Over the last decades, the potential of plants as wound healing agents is being investigated. Wounds and ulcers affect the patients' life quality and often lead to amputations. Approximately 43,000,000 patients suffer from diabetic foot ulcers worldwide. Annually, $25 billion are expended for the treatment of chronic wounds, with the number growing due to aging population and increased incidents of diabetes and obesity. Therefore a timely, orderly and effective wound management and treatment is crucial.
This paper aims to systematically review natural products, mainly plants, with scientifically well documented wound healing activity, focusing on articles based on animal and clinical studies performed worldwide and approved medicinal products. Moreover, a brief description of the wound healing mechanism is presented, to provide a better understanding. Although a plethora of natural products are in vitro and in vivo evaluated for wound healing activity, only a few go through clinical trials and even fewer launch the market as approved medicines. Most of them rely on traditional medicine, indicating that ethnopharmacology is a successful strategy for drug development. Since only 6% of plants have been systematically investigated pharmacologically, more intensified efforts and emerging advancements are needed to exploit the potentials of nature for the development of novel medicines. This paper aims to provide a reliable database and matrix for thorough further investigation towards the discovery of wound healing agents.

Molybdenum Metallopharmaceuticals Candidate Compounds - The “Renaissance” of Molybdenum Metallodrugs? by Anna Jurowska, Kamil Jurowski, Janusz Szklarzewicz, Boguslaw Buszewski, Tatiana Kalenik, Wojciech Piekoszewski (3322-3342).
Metal-based drugs, also called “metallopharmaceuticals” or “metallodrugs”, are examples of sophisticated compounds that have been used in inorganic medicinal chemistry as therapeutic agents for a long time. Few of them have shown substantially promising results and many of them have been used in different phases of clinical trials. The Mo-based metallodrugs were successfully applied in the past for treating conditions such as anemia or Wilson's disease. Moreover, Mo complexes are supposed to exert their effect by intercalation/ cleavage of DNA/RNA, arrest of the cell cycle, and alteration of cell membrane functions. However, in the current literature, there are no reliable and in-depth reviews about the hypothetical therapeutic applications of all of the known molybdenum complexes as metallopharmaceuticals/ metallodrugs. The main emphasis was on the in-depth review of the potential applications of Mo-based complexes in medicinal chemistry as metallopharmaceuticals in treating diseases such as cancer and tumors, Wilson's disease, diabetes mellitus, Huntington's disease, atherosclerosis, and anemia. It must be emphasized that today the development of innovative and new Mo-based metalo-pharmaceuticals is not rapid, and hence the aim of this paper was also to inspire colleagues working in the field of Mo compounds who are trying to find “signpost” for research. The authors hope that this article will increase interest and initiate the Renaissance of Mo-compounds among medicinal inorganic chemists. This paper is the first review article in the literature that refers to and emphasizes many different and complex aspects of possible applications and capabilities of Mo-based metallodrugs.

Development of the Third Generation EGFR Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors for Anticancer Therapy by Weiyan Cheng, Jianhua Zhou, Xin Tian, Xiaojian Zhang (3343-3359).
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is one of the most important targets in anticancer therapy. Till date, a large number of first and second generation EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been marketed or advanced into clinical studies. However, the occurrence of TKI-resistant mutations has led to the loss of efficacy of these inhibitors. In the purpose of overcoming resistant mutations and reducing side effects, lots of third generation EGFR inhibitors are explored with promising potencies against EGFR mutations while sparing wild-type EGFR. This review outlines the current landscape of the development of third generation EGFR inhibitors, mainly focusing on the biological properties, clinical status and structure-activity relationships.

In Silico Studies Most Employed in the Discovery of New Antimicrobial Agents by F. Tamay-Cach, M. L. Villa-Tanaca, J. G. Trujillo-Ferrara, D. Alemán-González-Duhart, J. C. Quintana-Pérez, I. A. González-Ramírez, J. Correa-Basurto (3360-3373).
The present review summarizes the methods most used in drug search and design, which may help to keep pace with the growing antibiotic resistance among pathogens. The rate of reduction in the effectiveness of many antimicrobial medications, caused by this resistance, is faster than new drug development, thereby creating a worldwide public health threat. Among the scientific community, the urgency of finding new drugs is peaking interest in the use of in silico studies to explore the interaction of compounds with target receptors. With this approach, small molecules (designed or retrieved from data bases) are tested with computer-aided molecular simulation to explore their efficacy. That is, ligand-protein complexes are constructed and evaluated via virtual screening (VS), molecular dynamics (MD), and docking simulations with the data from the physical, chemical and pharmacological properties of such molecules. Additionally, the application of quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR), multi-target quantitative structure-activity relationship (mt- QSAR), and multi-tasking quantitative structure-biological effect (mtk-QSBER) can be enhanced by principal component analysis and systematic workflows. These types of studies aid in selecting a group of promising molecules with high potency and selectivity as well as low toxicity, thus making in vitro and in vivo (animal model) testing more efficient. Since knowledge of the receptor topography and receptor-ligand interactions has yielded promising compounds and effective drugs, there is now no doubt that the use of in silico tools can lead to more rapid validation of new potential drugs for preclinical studies and clinical trials.

Gold Complexes for Therapeutic Purposes: an Updated Patent Review (2010-2015) by Chiara Nardon, Nicolò Pettenuzzo, Dolores Fregona (3374-3403).
Gold has always aroused great interest in the history of mankind. It has been used for thousands of years for jewelry, religious cult valuables, durable goods and in the art world. However, few know that such a precious and noble metal was exploited in the past by the ancients also for its therapeutic properties. More recently, in the twentieth century some complexes containing gold centers in the oxidation state +1 were studied for the treatment of the rheumatoid arthritis and the orally-administered drug Auranofin was approved by the FDA in 1985. From the chemical point of view, gold derivatives deserve special attention due to the unique position of this metal within the periodic table, which results in unconventional relativistic effects and, ultimately, in the highest electronegativity, electron affinity and redox potential among all metals.
In this review, after an introduction concerning the use of gold complexes in medicine, we have examined all the patents internationally or nationally published in the years 2010-2015 (until December 31, 2015) and describing new inorganic compounds containing gold(I) and gold(III) with proved therapeutic properties. These patents were filed to mainly protect compounds with promising anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities (total 18 and 4, respectively). In particular, this work explores both coordination compounds containing ligands with various donor atoms (e.g., N-, O-, S- and -P) and organo-gold derivatives with at least one Au-C bond. The toxicological profile and the intracellular targets reported for some among the patented gold derivatives are discussed.

Macrocyclic Hepatitis C Virus NS3/4A Protease Inhibitors: An Overview of Medicinal Chemistry by Thanigaimalai Pillaiyar, Vigneshwaran Namasivayam, Manoj Manickam (3404-3447).
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a causative agent of hepatitis C infectious disease that primarily affects the liver, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a lifelong illness. The 9.6 kb RNA genome of HCV encodes approximately 3000 amino acid polyprotein that must be processed by host and viral proteases into both structural (S) and non-structural (NS) proteins, respectively. Targeting the serine protease NS3 with an activating factor NS4A, i.e., NS3/4A has been considered as one of the most attractive targets for the development of anti-HCV therapy. Although there is no vaccine available, antiviral medicines cure approximately 90% of the persons with hepatitis C infection. On the other hand, efficacy of these medications can be hampered due to the rapid drug and cross resistances. To date, all developed HCV NS3/4A inhibitors are mainly peptide-based compounds derived from the cleavage products of substrate. Specifically macrocyclic peptidomimetics have rapidly emerged as a classical NS3/4A protease inhibitors for treating the HCV infection. This review highlights the development of macrocyclic anti-HCV NS3/4A protease, as well as clinically important inhibitors developed from linear peptides, discovered during the last 12 years (2003-2015) from all sources, including laboratory synthetic methods, virtual screening and structure-based molecular docking studies. We emphasize the rationale behind the design, study of structure-activity relationships, and mechanism of inhibitions and cellular effect of the macrocyclic inhibitors.